Consumers are left out in the cold..

I was answering a query today about the transition from XP/Office XP to Windows 7/Office 2010. The OP asked why home users never get the chance to voice concerns re features that are going to appear in the latest and greatest Microsoft software.

A good question.. notwithstanding the fact that Windows 8 was released recently under the ‘Consumer Preview’ tag, and that 8 million or so downloaded it, how would the average user get to try it out?

Assuming that 180 million is the total of all Windows users, and removing two thirds of that number to account for business use, that leaves a possible 60 million. Subtract the number of Windows 8 CP downloads from the total of all home users, and that leaves 52 million who don’t have the first clue about how Windows 8 works, or how the differences between what they use now and Windows 8 will affect them.

Some of the 52 million will be hobbyists who have the knowledge to set up a virtual machine, dual boot or parallel installation on their computers. We will take off 10 million to account for hobbyists. I suspect that the number is way smaller but I am trying to be fair to Microsoft.

So, 42 million have no way of trying out Windows 8 or contributing to what Windows 8 feature set will be, and yet when the time comes, these 42 million will be stuck with a take it or leave it when they buy their next new computer.

Would somebody like to explain to me how ‘fair’ fits into this scenario? Microsoft are well aware that the majority are OEM buyers and have pretty much no choice, just the shock when the OS appears for the first time on screen. Its bad enough for these people when only small changes are made. Windows 8 is a huge departure for all Windows users, and as usual, the bread and butter OEM users get the raw deal.

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